|“But the wisdom that comes from heaven |
is first of all pure; then peace-loving,
considerate, submissive, full of mercy
and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
“Peacemakers who sow in peace
reap a harvest of righteousness.”
One day, when I was about thirteen years old, I went with my dad to the hardware store. I had been there many times, always in the company of my dad. I had noticed that the store clerk was a very dedicated and helpful person. With all of the thousands of items in that store, he knew exactly where every item was located.
As he approached us, asking to help, he had overheard a conversation my dad and I were having about some electrical equipment. I must have been waxing in high spirits about some aspect of the equipment, to which my dad was simply nodding in response.
“Don’t you wish you knew as much as he thinks he knows?” the clerk asked my dad.
My dad smiled and replied, “Yes. But, he is a pretty smart kid.”
I did not completely miss the point the store clerk was making. I only wish that I had learned a much more ingrained lesson from what the clerk said. Far too often, I have spoken out when it would have been much wiser to remain silent.
On another occasion, when my dad and I went to the hardware store, this same clerk was dealing with a very loud and sarcastic customer. Apparently, the customer had bought some bolts and then proceeded to cross thread them when he went to use them. He had brought them back to the store and insisted they were defective. The conversation was very one-sided. The customer would make some loud assertion, punctuated with profanity. The clerk would then make a very soft and gentle response. Finally the loud mouth left the store.
At this point the clerk turned to us and said, “It is far better to be a wise man than a wise guy!”
My dad chuckled at the remark and then made one of his own. “I suspect,” my dad said, “that man has never been popped in the mouth.”
I was a bit startled by such words coming from my Sunday School teacher dad. Then, I remembered a conversation we had had many years before when he recounted an event that occurred during his time in the U. S. Marine Corps in World War II. His remark that day made sense in the context of the story he had told me about brash young men coming into the Corps.
At his lofty old age of 35, he had far more worldly wisdom than they had. And, they soon learned that mouthing off was not going to be tolerated in the Marine Corps. If they mouthed off to the Drill Sergeant, he might just take them around the corner and “pop” them in the mouth—a technique that usually ended their bad verbal behavior. Sometimes, wisdom comes from the stark reality of experience.
The Apostle James talks about true wisdom—God-given wisdom—with these words found in James 3:17-18:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
In our quest to serve God with devoted hearts, let’s begin this day by asking God to give us this kind of wisdom. As we walk the road of life that He has laid out before us, if we rely on the kind of wisdom our loving Father will give us, we will avoid a whole lot of problems.